Seven Tips to Prepare for the January Sports Job Push
Seven Tips to Prepare for the January Sports Job Push
By Brian Clapp | December 14, 2016
Right after 'the most wonderful time of the year' has concluded, we head directly into my favorite season of the year - job search season.
Many job seekers take the months of November and December off, enjoying their eggnog induced malaise and basking in the spirit of holiday shopping. For others, the New Year provides motivation to start fresh and vanquish the demons of their current dead end job.
All of this leads up to one undeniable fact - there is an abundance of sports job seekers that are entering the market come January and February.
Some of you are probably reading this with fear, worried about the expansive competition in the job marketplace and doubting your ability to stand out – nonsense!
Employers have gone through the same waiting period that you have, so their job openings are backed up and ready to spill over (…onto WorkInSports.com).
Think about it, employers don’t want to hire someone right in the midst of the holiday season, because it is much harder to integrate someone into the natural workflow of the business. People are on vacation, schedules are altered and parties are planned – they don’t call it ‘the most normal time of the year’.
The increase in competition is spread out over more job openings, meaning your chances are just as good as ever, so get out there and win one!
To help you get ready for the January sports job push here are seven tips to get you primed and ready.
The first thing any hiring manager does after they’ve determined you have the skills they are looking for, is to check your online accounts to learn more about who you are.
Make sure your:
LinkedIn account is up-to-date and professional
The tone of your Twitter timeline is respectfully communicated
Facebook page isn’t inundated with pictures of you doing ice shots off of Santa's reindeer
You’ll be disqualified for jobs without even knowing it if you don’t take this simple step.
2: Contact All Of Your References
For some reason I've always forgotten this crucial step in my personal interview prep. I’d focus so much on what I was going to say during an interview that I was never prepared for the ‘can you provide us with references?’ question.
The last thing you want to do is be scrambling for phone numbers and email addresses of people you haven’t talked to in a few years.
Reach out to anyone you want to have as a reference, let them know you are going to be looking for a new sports career in the coming year, wanted to make sure they were still comfortable being a reference and if they have a preferred method of contact.
This one simple step with relinquish hours of anxiety when the references question pops up.
3: Explore Your Weaknesses
Beginning today, start reading job descriptions for the type of sports jobs you want to apply for and learn what skills are required, where your strengths are and better yet, where your weaknesses are.
Let’s say you wanted to work in sports broadcasting and the majority of the jobs that pique your interest require knowledge of Final Cut Pro editing system, but you only know Avid. Now’s the time to take an online course and start learning Final Cut Pro!
You may not have time to completely master a new skill before January, but you can start and that shows initiative.
Now you can put that skill on your resume, and in the interview process have the opportunity to say something like: “I noticed many jobs require knowledge of Final Cut Pro and while I know Avid very well, I took it upon myself to start learning Final Cut Pro last month.”
That’s the kind of person I want to hire, someone who is proactive.
4: Prime Your Network
DO NOT put out a blast on social media: “I’m looking for work, got any leads for an experienced (insert you) who loves working with people?”
I can’t tell you how many times I see this and it makes me cringe every time.
You have just:
Made people feel bad for you, rather than inspired to help you
Created this impersonal barrier between you and your network
Put a permanent record out there that you are job searching
Instead, try thinking about who in your network could be useful in your job search and reach out to them personally.
No form letters, no blasts, an actual human conversation. Ask for advice, not just leads. Explain a bit of your recent story, so they know where you are in your career.
By using a personal touch you make it clear to them - I could use your help, you’re important to me and I value your time and opinion. That works better than any social media blast.
5: Choose How You Will Search For Sports Jobs
There are two basic techniques for job searching of any kind – shotgun or strategic.
The shotgun technique means that you apply for anything and everything loosely within your area of expertise. If you plan on using this technique, build a spreadsheet that has the all the pertinent information of your applications or your search can get out of control very easily. If you aren't organized, when you get a callback you can’t even remember the important skills of that particular job.
Your spreadsheet should include – business, job title, date applied, how applied, primary skills needed, basic business information (what they do), your last communication with them and main point of contact.
Have this spreadsheet open on your laptop every day so you can reference it easily if someone calls you out of the blue.
The strategic technique means you focus in deep on a few jobs that really seem to fit you.
Now the emphasis is on research:
Make sure you know each of these jobs and their requirements inside and out.
Find out if you know anyone, even loosely, at the company and start networking with them
Call trusted friends to see if they know anyone at the company
Understand the history of the company, how they make money and the latest news on them
Dig deep into anything you think can make you appear uniquely qualified and special enough to be hired for their opening
I prefer the strategic technique, but I know many that have used the shotgun technique with success.
6: Know Who You Are Online
When hiring managers and recruiters research you online they generally look at the page one results of Google searches. So take a look, how do you appear online?
I have known this for years and have actually made a joke out of it with previous recruiters, blunting the force of their search by saying, “if you check me out online, just know I am not the steroid dealer from Texas.”
This usually leads itself to a funny interchange and a nice opportunity to show my personality.
If you have something bad that comes up on the first page of results, here’s another suggestion – start guest writing on popular sites. When you post a guest article, your name and picture gets out there and if the site is reputable you can often get to the first page of results for your name pretty quickly.
If nothing else you can include a link on your resume to your guest articles and any recruiter or hiring manager can see who you are, and who you are not.
7: Prepare for the Negative
Most job interviews revolve around how you handle the negatives aspects of your career or experiences. If you make it to the interview phase, the employer has already determined you have the skills to do the job or else they wouldn’t waste their time bringing you in.
Now, like a boxer who finds your weakness and exploits it, hiring managers want to hammer into the soft spots of your body of work.
Are you prepared to answer questions like:
Why you were laid-off/fired from your last job?
Why you haven’t gained more experience at this point of your career?
Why should I hire you vs. someone else?
Why your last boss said you were difficult to work with?
Why you have a police record?
Prepare for these questions because they will come, especially if you have something glaring on your history, like a large gap in employment or a short stay at a certain company.
And focus on your body language as you answer, hiring managers are trained to notice if you are squeamish or seem to lack confidence answering a certain style of questioning.
There is good reason to be excited about the New Year and the fresh opportunities that abound for sports jobs.
The majority of your competition isn’t taking the extra steps outlined in these tips, when you do you’ll be one step ahead of the pack.
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